Categories
18. Restitution, Waiver, Fraud

Proulx v. Horiba Subsidiary, Inc. – 18.21

Proulx v. Horiba Subsidiary, Inc.
Digest No. 18.21

Sections 421.27, 421.33(1), 421.54(b), and 421.62(a)

Cite as: Proulx v Horiba Subsidiary, Inc, unpublished opinion of the Michigan Compensation Appellate Commission, issued October 1, 2014 (Docket No. 14-00680-241108).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Brian D. Proulx
Employer: Horiba Subsidiary, Inc.
Docket no.: 14-00680-241108
Date of decision: October 1, 2014

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HOLDING: Redetermination by the UIA requires fact finding in support of the agency’s decision. When the Agency merely makes a conclusory statement in support of its ruling, such a decision is procedurally deficient and will not be upheld on appeal. Secondly, when a claimant fails to appear at an appeal by the Agency, the ALJ has jurisdiction both to dismiss the proceedings and to “take other action considered advisable”. Thus, the ALJ has “broad discretion to address the matter.” Finally, the notice for the hearing, delivered to the claimant, was required to include ”the issues and penalties involved”. (This requirement has been altered by Michigan Administrative Code (MAC) Rule 792.11407. This rule requires a “short and plain statement of the issues involved”, while related rules require a 20 notice, compared to the usual 7, and a witness list and copy of all documentary evidence related to fraud.)

FACTS: After being discharged by Horiba Subsidiary, Claimant applied for and received benefits under Section 27. A rehearing, on March 28, 2014, by the Unemployment Insurance Agency accused Claimant of fraud or misrepresentation, found him ineligible for Section 27 benefits, and subject to restitution under Section 62(a). A separate rehearing on the same day assessed penalties under Section 54(b). Claimant then failed to appear at an ALJ hearing of this matter on July 10, 2014. The notice of this hearing provided to Claimant read “SECTION 27(c) & 48 – WHETHER OR NOT CLAIMANT IS ELIGIBLE FOR BENEFITS UNDER THE REMUNERATION, EARNINGS OFFSET PROVISION. CLAIMANT MUST PAY RESTITUTION/DAMAGES TO AGENCY UNDER SECTION 54(b)-INTENTIONAL MISREPRESENTATION. SECTIONS THAT MAY APPLY ARE: 62(a), 62(b), 20(a).” This notice did not include the penalties involved as required by the Michigan Administrative Code (MAC) Rule 421.1110(1). (Note that this rule has since been superseded and altered by Rule 792.11407.)

Because of Claimant’s failure to appear, the ALJ dismissed Claimant’s appeal of the Section 27, and Section 62(a) rehearings, but remanded the Section 54(b) rehearing to the Agency because their accusations in that rehearing were merely conclusory and didn’t provide supporting fact-finding. The Unemployment Insurance Agency appealed this remand decision to the Michigan Compensation Appellate Commission, and the Commission reviewed both of the orders of the ALJ.

DECISION: The ALJ’s dismissal of Claimant’s appeal is set aside and remanded for a full hearing. The ALJ’s remand of the Agency’s 54(b) ruling is affirmed.

RATIONALE: An ALJ does not lack jurisdiction over an appealed UIA hearing simply because the appellant failed to appear at the appeal. Section 33(1) provides that “If the appellant fails to appear or prosecute the appeal, the administrative law judge may dismiss the proceedings or take other action considered advisable.” Since the ALJ may “take other action considered advisable”, a dismissal based on the appellant’s failure to appear is an error of law. A second reason for setting aside the ALJ’s dismissal of the appeal is the insufficiency of the notice provided to Claimant. Michigan Administrative Code (MAC) Rule 431.1110(1) required the notice to include a description of the penalties involved. Since the notice form provided to Claimant lacked this information, it was not sufficient and his failure to appear can’t be held against him.

Secondly, and Agency determination of fraud or misrepresentation on the part of a claimant can’t be sustained without fact-finding on the record to back up that determination. Merely supplying conclusory statements as to Claimant’s alleged fraud does not meet this burden. Therefore, when the Agency fails to provide appropriate factual backing for its findings, it must reconsider its determination.

Digest author: James Fahringer, Michigan Law, Class of 2018
Digest updated: 3/30/2016

Categories
10. Voluntary Leaving

Kirby v Benton Harbor Screw Co – 10.64

Kirby v Benton Harbor Screw Co
Digest no. 10.64

Section 29(1)(a)

Cite as: Kirby v Benton Harbor Screw Co, unpublished per curiam opinion of the Court of Appeals, issued June 16, 1995 (Docket No. 163513).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Michael J. Kirby
Employer: Benton Harbor Screw Co.
Docket no.: B90-10197-116367W
Date of decision: June 16, 1995

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COURT OF APPEALS HOLDING: The Board of Review decision must be affirmed if based on competent, material, substantial evidence in the record and in accordance with the law.

FACTS: The parties disagreed as to the proper characterization of the separation.

On February 15, 1990, his last day of work, the claimant received an unfavorable evaluation. He finished his shift that day and went home. He returned to the plant later that evening. While there, he went to his office, reconciled his petty cash account, left documentation of his expense account, cleared his personal belongings from his desk and left his company keys. He also asked two co-workers to witness these acts and verify he was only taking his personal effects. While departing the claimant mumbled an obscenity and stated, “I’m leaving.” Thereafter, the claimant appeared to work at his regular time the following Monday only to discover he had been replaced.

DECISION: Claimant is disqualified for voluntary leaving.

RATIONALE: Although the circuit court and Court of Appeals may have reached a different conclusion given the facts in the record, the circuit court decision was reversed and the Board of Review decision reinstated because there was competent, material and substantial evidence to support the Referee and Board’s finding that the claimant had voluntarily left his employment.

Digest Author: Board of Review (original digest here)
Digest Updated:
7/99